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October 27, 2021 • Humor, Nothing to Laugh at

“Laughter makes me lighter.” –David Fessell


David’s return to Unlocked was great fun again. What do expect when the topic is humor? But within all the laughs, there were several points that really struck home for me. 


David mentioned again the use of a humor journal as a technique for bringing more humor into your life. He said to stop at the end of the day and write down three funny things that happened during the day – a joke that you heard, a cartoon, an event, or whatever. Perhaps because you’re focusing on it, he says that over time, you begin to become aware of more and more humorous moments. I’m going to try it!


David also talked about his work with improv and the principles that it is built on. The one that really stopped me in my tracks was that statement that in improv, you can make a mistake knowing that other actors will make up for it in a way that save you. It’s referred to as “Jump and the net will appear.” I had this brilliant vision of working on a team where trust is high. It’s the same thing. Make a mistake, say a stupid thing, trip over the wire stretched out on the floor and your teammate will fill the gap. You’ll remain a full-fledged member of the team no matter. 


Last important point for me was: Humor is emotional medicine according to David. It’s a generative force in our world. 


Check the archives here. (The link will be inserted as soon as I learn it. This was my first show on this channel, and I’m still learning the ropes.) 

October 14, 2021 • Who is in that Story?


Loren Niemi, master storyteller, poet, and author talked with me about Who is in that Story?  We discussed the power of story and how individuals can use story to learn about themselves as well as convey things about themselves to others. It was a powerful conversation. Here are some points that blew me away. 


  • When working with the indigenous people of Minnesota, their stories talked about how their homes were wide-spread in relation to where jobs were. In the end, their real message from their stories was, “We want to work; help us get there.” Stories carry deep messages even when they are not stated directly.

  • True facts are not always the truth of a story.  

  • We all have many stories that we are and that we live in. We have the stories of me as an individual. Then there are stories of who we are as part of our family or clan, and finally, we are ourselves as part of the larger frame of reference such as I am an American. 

  • Although writing a story offers the luxury of telling a more complex and detailed story, a story told orally can have the same impact through a great beginning and repetition. 

  • Story holds the world together, helping us make sense of the chaos of our lives. 


Writing our personal stories indeed does reveal who we are – especially to ourselves. Take a minute today and write a story from your life. 

Listen to the whole show here.

October 7, 2021 • As We Step Back onto the Office

Dr. Ed Hoffman, CEO of Knowledge Strategies and Rami Abada, CEO, Dwell Well Furniture, explored a wide range of impacts that the pandemic has had on business and workers in conversation. Several points that stood out were:  

  • Like the NASA book, “Where do we go after we go to the moon?”, this transition is likewise unclear yet demanding of our creativity and resilience. 

  • Returning to the office will call for assuring psychological safety as usual, but now also physical safety.

  • The impact both during the pandemic and now that we are returning to our places of work appear to impact on the younger employee, especially the one just starting out her or his career,

  • Business will need to think about the ambiguous grief that will assail us all. Helping staff deal with it may be as simple as acknowledging.  Be sure to listen to the touching story about work boots. (You'll find it at 30 min, going to 32:30.)

  • Final words were: from Ed, be an explorer that always keeps the target in mind, and from Rami, keep your eyes open to see what is happening and constantly looking for opportunities

Resilience is a privilege. We must never forget that we are fortunate to be able to respond resiliently to disruption. Although we will see the opportunity of returning to the office differently, keep alert and be willing to adjust while searching for the next possibility. 

Listen to the whole show here. 

August 26, 2021 • The Voice of Small Towns

Craig Lindholm, City Administrator of Winnsboro, Texas, had a lot to say about building resilience in a town and how it is done. It begins with the town’s council that acts for the entire community and always with a long-term perspective in mind. Starting from that position, Craig laid out the qualities and capabilities of a strong, resilient community. 

  • Trust – the bedrock of a strong community

  • Unison of vision – perfect agreement is not necessary, just a clear, common direction

  • Make room for everyone and build relationships – imagine bringing agriculture and the arts together through cowboy poetry. 

  • Create ‘meeting’ places – from walking and bike paths, to town squares where people can come together, community centers for celebrations and more. 

  • Ignore at your peril – division and factions spring up, fights over resources occur, and in the end, people migrate away as the town slowly expires. 

  • Looking for a resilient town? Look for community partnerships between government and community organizations and look for whether people exhibit civil discourse. 

In other words:  Build trust, create a vision, develop and work the strategic plan (path). Above all, every member of the community must work to build trust. 

Listen to the whole show here

August 5, 2021 • 7 Pillars of Wellness

Translating wellness from an individual perspective to a business one is tricky and not even defined at the moment. That is why my conversation with Chris O’Rourke, COO at Affinity, calls for a framework. His talk focused on the changes that have occurred within organizations that are, in fact, only the beginning of the changes that are likely as a result of the tectonic shifts in business today. He introduced the framework on which he explores this topic as the 7 Pillars of Wellness. 

  • Social wellness, how people interact, communicate, collaborate 

  • Emotional wellness, our mental health, emotional literacy that facilitates talking about grieving

  • Spiritual wellness about values, mission and our empathy 

  • Environmental wellness, the physical place in which we live and work 

  • Occupational wellness, our focus, work/life balance 

  • Intellectual wellness that begins with curiosity and learning 

  • Physical wellness, about our bodies and its relationship to a healthy mind 

Because the changes that are happening are not fully clear, neither are the answers to assuring wellness in all cases. The seven pillars are the framework in which the conversation must continue. The continuation will require courage and determination, and also wisdom and creativity. 

Listen to the whole show here

July 29, 2021 • Resilience & Learning

Craig Delarge an experienced executive and coach, in the health industry, spoke on the enormous importance of learning throughout life and its relationship to resilience. Almost his first words were, "To be human is to be learning." It was a great start. Other focus points were: 

  • As a culture, we place highest value on that which has economic value and tend to dismiss learning that does not serve an economic value. Experience suggests that don’t even value teaching of children, the formation of future citizens and workers.

  • Essential learning is possible in some unexpected ways. Joseph Badaracco of Harvard, teaches a course called The Question of Character which helps business students and engineers to explore how human beings can and do interact giving rise to a new understanding of ethics and more.

  • Learning is relevant to business and adds to the wellbeing of employees. Businesses should recommit to training, create ways in which staff can learn as a part of their work even to the point of creating activities or allowing activities that staff enjoy. 

  • When we are having fun, learning is enhanced. H

  • Taking a queue from children, he recommended that parents create ‘vacation hours’, where activities have no explicit result. They are moments of learning. 

Learning keeps the mind open, so important in being resilient. 

Listen to the whole show here

July 22, 2021 • Transforming Culture

Dr. Nancy Dixon talked about dialogue and its impact on organizations when applied correctly. She offered four practices of effective dialogue: 

• Voice – The practice of being authentic.

• Listening – The practice of giving attention to others and what they mean.

• Respect – The practice of taking another person and their views seriously.

• Suspension – The practice of enquiring into the assumptions and implications of your views. 

To be effectively employed within an organization dialogue depends on two other dimensions. Listen and learn those two and hear about a real example of the impact of its proper application. Listen to the whole show here

July 15, 2021 • Personified Resilience

LaFarris Risby owns three, multimillion dollar businesses. Her personal story is a testament to her resilience from the age of six. When things were rough, she just asked herself, “How bad do you want this?” And she moved on. In this talk she offers strategies for families, individuals, parents, and businesses on how to cope during these times of sudden, universal change. For example, if you want to provide child care facilities for parents, add things the parents need as well. For example, LaFarris’ child care centers (she has several in her business), she has added massage so that a harried mother can get a massage knowing her child is safe. And there are lots more ideas. Listen and be surprised by her wisdom-based ideas.  Listen to the whole show here. 

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